Thursday 17 January 2019

Farmers have no appetite for the Dawn Meats deal

Louise Kennedy with Michael Bonsor, managing director of the Rosewood Hotel. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Louise Kennedy with Michael Bonsor, managing director of the Rosewood Hotel. Photo: Frank Mc Grath
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

The deal for Dawn Meats, owned by brothers John and Peter Queally, to buy Dunbia, owned by brothers Jim and Jack Dobson, seemed like a great solution for everyone. The Dobsons were trying to sell their business, which has wafer-thin margins and a considerable debt on its balance sheet. For the Queallys and their co-founder Dan Browne, Dunbia's access to the UK markets gives Dawn a welcome Brexit buffer.

However, the farming community didn't savour the idea of more consolidation.

In recently published objections made to the competition watchdog, the IFA claimed: "There is a strong body of evidence which points to weak competition for farmers selling cattle and sheep to meat factories in Ireland and further transactions in line with the Dawn Meats/Dunbia proposed merger are likely to weaken competition even further."

The ICMSA went even further, arguing: "The meat industry in Ireland over time is becoming more concentrated within a small number of groups and there are real concerns amongst beef and sheep producers that further concentration at processor level will considerably undermine competition for both cattle and sheep, thus reducing the price paid to the farmer."

However, despite their efforts to rustle up some resistance to the plan, it was approved by the CCPC last month.

Luxury London hotel aiming  to lure Irish big spenders

The manager of luxury London hotel The Rosewood clearly has faith in the Irish economy. Michael Bonsor was in Dublin last week to promote the impressive five-star hotel in a bid to attract more visitors from Ireland.

He held a soiree in Louise Kennedy's head office on Merrion Square, where he charmed 100 of the designer's well-heeled clients. Bonsor told me that 5pc to 6pc of the hotel's business comes from Ireland and he would like to edge that towards 10pc.

At the moment, about 60pc of the Irish visitors are leisure travellers and 40pc are corporate. He originally doubted that the currency fluctuations would impact on high-end travel. However, he has since discovered that big spenders like a bargain as much as anyone and the hotel is now benefiting from shoppers flocking to avail of the weaker sterling in nearby Covent Garden, which has gone terribly up-market of late.

Leeson returns to Singapore and hails Asian stock boom

Nick Leeson, whose huge trades in Japanese shares brought down Barings Bank in 1995, last week returned to Singapore for the first time since the events that saw him lose £827m. After serving four years in prison in Singapore and taking on the perhaps equally arduous task of running League of Ireland side Galway United, Leeson was returning to the Asian city for one of his many - no doubt lucrative - speaking gigs. "Boarding a flight to Singapore, keynote address at a conference later in the week. REALLY not sure that this is a good idea!!" he tweeted. The disastrous buying spree was immortalised in the movie Rogue Trader and Leeson has been eager to tweet the significance of recently-booming Japanese stocks.

Sunday Indo Business

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